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State hoping to go to 'vote by mail' in the primary

Mar 27, 2020
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota will be moving toward “mail ballots” for the June primary, because of the COVID-19 virus.

Gov. Doug Burgum signed an executive order waiving the requirement that counties must have at least one polling place open. He said that gives counties the opportunity to conduct the election completely by mail.

Agreement reached over 'tribal IDs' and voting

Feb 14, 2020

A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit Spirit Lake, Standing Rock and other tribes brought against North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger over tribal IDs and other ballot access concerns.

The suit centered around the state’s ID requirements for voting. State law says a valid ID must have a person’s name, date of birth and physical address.  The tribes said many of their reservation residents only had a post office box number, not a street address.

New voting devices being 'put through their paces'

Jul 17, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

At a warehouse in north Bismarck, the Secretary of State’s office is putting new voting devices through the paces.

"We're doing 'acceptance testing,'" said Secretary of State Al Jaeger. "We're making sure all the pieces we have received are working properly."

Jaeger said there are more than 900 pieces of equipment.

"We're checking everything out," Jaeger said.

New voting machines being 'put through the paces'

Jun 26, 2019

New voting machines for North Dakota are set up in a room at the Capitol.

"We're putting them through the paces, said Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum. "We want to make sure they can handle our open primary, and any election we would throw at it."

It is the Secretary of State's job to certify the new devices, and de-certify the devices that are no longer used.

ND getting an updated election system

May 6, 2019

North Dakota will see an upgrade in its voting system.

The Legislature approved $12 million for a new system. Jaeger says $3 million of that comes from federal funds.

"We already had the bid in place for the voting system," said North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger. "So now that we have the funding, and the Legislature passed that part of the bill with an emergency clause, the funding is available now."

Jaeger said an executive steering committee will start the procurement process for the new system.

Women's suffrage celebration begins in ND

Apr 11, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

One hundred years ago, women were given the right to vote by Constitutional amendment.

And a North Dakota group is launching a two-year celebration.

The 19th Amendment was ratified August 18th, 1920.

"We're hoping to raise awareness of the importance of women getting the vote," said Susan Wefald of Bismarck, the co-chair of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Committee. "We will be hosting activities all over the state."

Wefald is asking people with photos and other documents concerning women voting to share those with the committee.

The state Senate has approved the Secretary of State’s budget – including money for new voting machines.

That budget includes $8.2 million to replace the voting devices, which Secretary of State Al Jaeger has said are outdated, and use a no-longer-supported operating system.

"We heard from a county organization that suggested if we didn't take this step, we could quite possibly see a serious malfunction or problem in our future elections," said Sen. John Grabinger (D-Jamestown). "In fact, I heard from my own county leaders, and they would concur."

The 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote, was passed in 1919. However, women in North Dakota were already able to vote in city elections under an act passed by the state legislature in 1917. In Bismarck, this created some excitement as citizens geared up the first election that local women could vote in, an election for city commissioner at the end of that year.

Cow Counties

Dec 24, 2018

On this date in 1904 the Washburn Leader reported that the presidential election was a measure of North Dakota’s progress. Incumbent Republican President Theodore Roosevelt defeated his Democratic challenger by over two million votes. Roosevelt was wildly popular in North Dakota and won the state with over 75% of the vote. Three North Dakota counties made the top five list nationally for the highest margin of victory. Roosevelt won some counties with over 90% of the vote.

Early voting becoming more popular in ND

Nov 6, 2018

Many North Dakotans voted early in this mid-term election.

As of mid-afternoon Monday, the Secretary of State's office reported 144,774 people had voted absentee or used early voting precincts. That compared with 134,804 in 2016, and 136,685 in 2012.

"People casting ballots before election day -- we've done a brisk business," said Burleigh County Auditor Kevin Glatt.